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The New CISO

Apr 15, 2021

In the latest episode of The New CISO, Sandro Bucchianeri joins us to discuss finding a mentor during the early portion of your career, how cyber security leaders can navigate corporate relationships, and the success of building a cybersecurity academy in South Africa.


Sandro is the Group Chief Security Officer of Absa Group in South Africa. He has worked in cyber security for companies across the globe, including the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates

Mental Wellness Emphasis

Sandro’s advice to his younger self: breathe, take a breath, relax.  Being a CISO is a very stressful position, and this episode talks about some aspects of mental wellness that are important for maintaining your physical health and stress levels. Sandro talks about his experience of implementing meditation in his early 40s and wishes he learned how to do it earlier in his career. The episode discusses the benefits of mindfulness and how you can apply it to your daily routine.

Navigating Mentorships

Knowing your why, the reason why you want to hit certain milestones in your career, is the most important thing when trying to reach success.  What you need to do to get there is one element, but using your own story and background is a more powerful motivator for drive. This is a very different dynamic in comparison to just working to get money. This episode talks about how these realizations and other soft skills can benefit you when you enter a leadership role.

Corporate Relationships

Sandro talks about the human condition and how that relates to relationships with board members. People show up differently when there is more on the line, which is why they will act differently in a casual one-on-one setting versus a board meeting. Those casual coffee chats are still suggested to humanize and understand the board members. Be authentic and transparent with them no matter who you’re speaking to. And if you are not getting time with a senior member or board member, ask yourself why. 


There’s no central golden source of truth for becoming a successful leader. Sandro learned early on that he needed to latch onto mentors. Expanding on that, the episode discusses the ability to listen to them and be patient. It is the most fundamental thing Sandro has learned, as opposed to jumping the gun and trying to find an answer right away. Sandro and Steve also discuss the perfection culture within the industry and how you can combat it.

Absa Academy

Sandro discusses the Absa Academy and its progress over the years, and how it has been able to lift South Africans out of poverty and into a career of cybersecurity. The episode mentions the obstacles the academy faced during the pandemic and the lessons students learn throughout the program.



Sandro Bucchianeri - LinkedIn

Sandro Bucchianeri - Twitter

Absa Cybersecurity Academy

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